Late fall afternoon at Coronado State Monument, New Mexico
An excellent docent took us down into a kiva in the Kuaua ruin area. It was excavated by the WPA in the 1930s. Most of the kivas were reburied after excavation and study, because the best way to preserve something is to hide it in the ground. To get into the kiva, you climb onto a platform and then lower yourself 15 feet into the ground by ladder. The space is dark, with round earthen walls, and a scent that I have never smelled before. It smelled like wet dirt, with a hint of something aromatic, perfumed. The kiva probably dates to the 13th century or so.
The kiva at Kuaua is one of, or perhaps the only known kiva to have wall paintings. They depict men and women interacting with gods, animals, each other. There are no photos allowed in the kiva, because it's a holy place, and descendants of the people who built it want some element of the sanctity to be preserved.
It felt different inside. There was a sense of pause and feeling of quiet such that I didn't want to talk in there, and I didn't want anyone else to either.
& then there's this